Friday, March 30, 2012

#IceBreaker Preview: Worldwide Renegades 15u

Preseason #2 (Nationally) Worldwide Renegades 15u

ABR tweeted yesterday about the change in the AAU basketball landscape in the southeast, and its effect on our area's basketball players.  The AAU teams and players from the greater Augusta, Georgia, area used to have to travel to Atlanta and beyond to play the best teams on the spring and summer AAU circuit.  But during the past decade, the Ice Breaker Invitational (the spring's unofficial kick off for AAU basketball in the southeast); the Peach State Invitational in the intense July evaluation period; and, beginning this year, the King James Southern Exposure tournament in the reinstated April evaluation period, has made the Augusta area one of the major destinations for the region's (and the country's) top AAU basketball teams.

And this weekend's visit from coach Pat Harper's Worldwide Renegades 15 & Under team, which recently ranked as the nation's preseason #2 ninth grade team nationally, proves the point that Augusta's players no longer need to always go to Atlanta to find the best competition.  Worldwide, whose key players all attend school in the Atlanta area, is one of the many teams in the southeast that has chosen Augusta as the place to be kick off the 2012 AAU season.

And coach Harper's strategy is a familiar one.  Like coaches Michael Stokes (Southern Stampede's 16u) and Marcus Gibbons (Southern Kings 15u), the Renegades' coach prefers to "play up," competing in the Ice Breaker's 16 & Under division.  "We won't play any 15u ball this season.  Our players are all major contributors on their varsity teams, so they play against older players all year.  And continuing to do so in the AAU season will prepare them for next year's high school season," coach Harper recently shared.

Some of those key contributors include 6'9" center Daniel Giddens (Wheeler HS); 6'4" forward Jaylen Brown (Wheeler HS); 6'1" guard Terrance Phillips; 6'2" guard Mikell Lands (Mount Vernon); 6'1" guard Ty Hudson (Mount Vernon); and 5'3" guard Pat Harper (Mount Vernon).  But these are just a few of the excellent players on the team that we have featured here and in the video above.  We look forward to seeing them all in action this weekend at the Ice Breaker!

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